The World Customs Organization (WCO) has published two key documents—the Customs AEO Validator Guide and the MRA Strategy Guide—that will provide detailed guidance on and further support for a more effective and harmonized implementation of Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) programs and their complementary Mutual Recognition Arrangements/Agreements (MRAs) globally.
In a release, WCO said the Customs AEO Validator Guide is primarily intended to build the capacity of customs administrations in the AEO validation process, in particular the validation of security-related provisions and management policies.
The guide can also help the private sector to better understand and prepare for AEO validation, thus contributing to more transparency and predictability in the AEO certification process, leading, in time, to a greater trust between customs and economic operators. The guide is also expected to contribute to harmonizing AEO programs around the world, thus facilitating the negotiation of MRAs.
The MRA Strategy Guide aims to assist customs administrations in developing MRAs, including in negotiating and implementing such agreements. The guide takes a comprehensive strategic approach to MRAs, laying down a clear vision and roadmap with a set of activities to be undertaken to reach the pre-defined goals in terms of planning, negotiating, and implementing MRAs with partner customs administrations. It sets out some of the key enablers that are required for the successful negotiation and implementation of MRAs, and includes working examples and best practices.
In addition, the guide recommends a regional or plurilateral approach to MRAs as the way forward. This approach would potentially reduce or even eliminate the need to negotiate and implement bilateral MRAs and the associated administrative costs required in such a process.
Besides developing guidance, the WCO also provides direct technical assistance to support its members and their stakeholders as they work to strengthen the security of the international trade supply chain, while ensuring maximum facilitation for legitimate goods flowing across borders.